The sides could not find common ground on the issues of full-time referees, pay increases and, most importantly, the pension for officials.
But because the lockout was not expected to last, the NFL was not able to lure Division 1 college officials. It instead relied on a group of referees that had only worked low-level college football.
The replacements worked all the exhibition games and the first three weeks of the regular season.
On a North End street, Kevin O’Brien said that NFL fans have always complained about the regular officials but that “now there’s a whole new appreciation for the refs.”
“You don’t know what you have till it’s gone,” he said.
Globe correspondent Derek J. Anderson contributed to this report. Greg A. Bedard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.